The Punch

Alleged extortion: Court admits phone messages, others against Sani

- Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

THE Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday admitted as exhibits messages and voice notes extracts from the phones of a former Kaduna Central senator, Shehu Sani, and that of a businessma­n who accused the ex-lawmaker of $25,000 extortion.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had on January 27, 2020 arraigned the former senator for fraud involving alleged extortion of $25,000 from one Alhaji Sani Dauda, who runs A.S.D. Motors.

The commission alleged that Sani fraudulent­ly represente­d the money as bribe for “the Chief Justice of Nigeria” and the acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.

Dauda had earlier testified on Tuesday telling the court how he gave out the money to Sani in two tranches of $15,000 and $10,000.

He said he used his phone to record the voice notes during conversati­ons when Sani returned the money to him and when he came with his brother to beg for forgivenes­s and withdrawal of the petition from the EFCC.

On Wednesday, Dauda’s son, Mohammed Dauda, appeared in court as the seventh prosecutio­n witness, testifying how he helped to set his father’s phone on recording mode prior to Sani’s arrivals during the encounters with the businessma­n in Abuja and Kaduna.

He also told the court how he received several calls and a message from Sani’s brother, which he ignored.

Testifying as the eighth prosecutio­n witness, a digital forensic analyst with the EFCC, Fatima Umar, told the court how she used Cellebrite Universal Extractive Device to extract text messages, voice notes and deleted chats from Sani’s and Dauda’s phone.

Led in evidence by the prosecutin­g counsel, Abba Mohammed, the witness said the data extracts from the phones were in unreadable format, so she said she “launched a physical analyser to decode and turn it into a readable form.”

Fatima added, “After the extraction, I returned the phones and I archived the data.

I burnt it on a CD (Compact Disc). The CD carries the recordings, the text messages I extracted from the devices.

“I wrote a report on January 17, 2020. I signed the report and it was signed by my pair review colleague, Victor Okoloru.”

She informed the court that her findings on the extraction contained in page 9 of the report, were on “text messages between the complainan­ts and the suspect, the audio recordings and deleted chats”.

Under cross-examinatio­n by Sani’s lawyer, Mr Abdul Mohammed (SAN), the witness confirmed that neither the former senator nor his lawyer was present when the extraction was done.

Asked if Sani consented to the extraction from his phone, the witness answered in the affirmativ­e.

When asked to produce proof, she produced the consent form from her file.

Earlier, while being crossexami­ned by the defence lawyer, Mohammed, who is the complainan­t’s son, confirmed that he was never part of the discussion between his father and Sani regarding the $25,000.

He also said he was not present when Sani allegedly collected the money and returned it to his father.

But he said he was present when his father gave the money to the EFCC as exhibit.

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